TEXAS (June 24, 2013) -- As the graduates respond "All In" to the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, family members watch in anticipation for the word, "congratulations."

More than 600 students at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, or USASMA, graduated June 21, at the 127th Aviation Support Battalion Hangar on East Fort Bliss, Texas. An honor only few have experienced.

"The course was really good, the camaraderie, the training, it's the last big school before leaving our peers," said Sgt. Maj. Pelandus Hughes, USASMA graduate and native of Asheville, N.C. "I'm relieved to be graduating."

Hughes plans to continue leading guiding and helping Soldiers grow at his new station in Fort Riley, Kan.

"Our NCO Corps is different from any other," said Odierno to the graduates. "It's the best NCO Corps in the world, and you're going to lead them."

As the guest speaker for graduating class 63, Odierno spoke on different approaches to leadership, but to the graduates he had a vital request.

"Never forget what our most important aspect of the Army is, our Soldiers," said Odierno.

During his speech Odierno also listed some of the accomplishments of graduation class 63, to include winning the soccer championships. Before presenting the diplomas to the graduates, he thanked the families who stood alongside the Soldiers.

"[This is] the best Army in the world," said Odierno, "and it's because of you."

As family member Danny Cheadle, a police officer in Central Illinois and twin brother of Master Sgt. Randy Cheadle, who graduated on the commandant's list, Danny watched and smiled as he said, "I'm extremely proud of my brother. He works hard and he leads by example."

Page last updated Mon June 24th, 2013 at 00:00